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Movies, headphones contribute to youth hearing loss

Defenders go inside movie theater to measure sound levels

From action to comedy to drama, whatever you're into at the movies is guaranteed to be loud.
From action to comedy to drama, whatever you're into at the movies is guaranteed to be loud.

From action to comedy to drama, whatever you're into at the movies is guaranteed to be loud.

KSAT 12 accompanied audiologist Dr. Tracy Board to a movie theater to measure noise using a sound level meter.

"Our standard is: 85 decibels for more than an hour is extremely dangerous," said Board. "However sounds of high intensities, say 100 decibels, an impact noise, one shot, will do it."

All hearing damage is permanent, according to Board.

The sound level meter recorded peak levels of 93 decibels.

While the sound did not remain constant at high levels, Board said a person's hearing will still be affected.

"Sound waves of 85 decibels, that high intensity, it just kind of pounds at those hair cells and breaks them down so they can't pick up those signals any more," Board said.

Loud movie noise is even an issue some lawmakers are hearing loud and clear. Connecticut is considering outlawing movies or previews louder than 85 decibels.

"The reality of it is there's probably too much noise in any given theater on any given day," said Board.

But the big screen is the biggest problem.

Headphones and ear buds can also do damage because people tend to use them for long periods of time at high volumes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 5 million children and young adults between ages 6-19 have noise induced hearing loss.

Among people ages 20-69, 26 million people have noise-induced hearing loss.

"Theaters are a little trickier because you're usually in for two hours at a time, but if you could sit at the back of the theater where the speakers aren't pointed at you or talk to the management, see if they can turn the sound down a little bit," said Board.

While using headphones or ear buds, Board said you should still be able to hear sound from the environment around you.


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